Rookie Kevin Alas considers himself lucky to have Alapag, Castro, Miller as mentors in continuing PBA education
Talk 'N Text rookie Kevin Alas says he considers free-agent pick-up Willie Miller a 'big brother' who teaches him how to play against veterans and handle late-game situations. Jerome Ascano

TALK ‘N Text rookie guard Kevin Alas feels like he’s the luckiest player in the pro league.

Not only does he address multi-titled coach Louie Alas as dad, the No. 2 pick in this season's PBA rookie draft also gets constant guidance from Tropang Texters teammate Jayson Castro and team manager Jimmy Alapag.

Now Alas has another one by his side who he considers a mentor - two-time PBA MVP Willie Miller who joined Talk 'N Text as an unrestricted free agent at the start of the Commissioner's Cup.

“Parang ang swerte ko nga, kasi kay Kuya Jimmy, natututo ako ng style ng laro na pang pure point guard, tapos kay Kuya Jayson naman may guidance din ako dahil siya ang best guard sa Asia,” Alas told Spin.ph.

The six-foot former Gilas cadet combo guard said he found another 'big brother' in the flamboyant Miller, who gives him tips about playing against PBA veterans as well as on how to read game situations.

“Si Kuya Willie, sine-share niya yung mga experiences niya sa akin sa PBA, lalo na sa endgame situations, which is, malaking bagay 'yun para sa akin para alam ko na gagawin ko kung nandun ako,” said the former Letran star.

The rookie has earned a place in TnT coach Jong Uichico's main rotation, averaging 7.0 points, 4.6 rebounds and 2.6 assists in 25.6 minutes per game in the midseason conference.

With the Tropang Texters saddled by injuries early in the second conference, Alas said he has been preparing himself physically and mentally so he could step up anytime his number is called.

Defensive ace Ryan Reyes is out for several more weeks due to an Achilles heel injury, Aaron Aban and Kelly Williams are still recovering from illness while Fil-Am rookie wingman Matt Ganuelas-Rosser is bothered by a toe injury.

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Worse, veteran forward Ranidel de Ocampo was diagnosed with a nasal fracture, though the 6-5 Gilas Pilipinas mainstay has played through it in the Tropang Texters’ 91-83 loss to sister team Meralco last week.

With the worsening injury crisis, Alas said he intends to emulate Alapag and lead from the front.

“Okay naman ako sa role ko ngayon sa team as point guard,” he said. “Kailangan ko lang maging vocal, kasi ang point guard parang second coach na rin sa court.”

Talk ‘N Text swings back to action on Friday when it collides with unbeaten Barako Bull at the Smart Araneta Coliseum.

Follow the writer on Twitter: @richava